Tuesday 27 October 2015

Deptford Park 'all weather' football pitch consultation

Lewisham Council is inviting feedback on its plans to put an astro-turf football pitch in the middle of the athletics track in Deptford Park. There's a month of consultation which started last week and goes on until 22 November by means of an online survey, with plans also due to be presented at the Evelyn Assembly at the Evelyn Community Centre in Kingfisher Square this Saturday.

I'm not far from Deptford Park but I rarely go there - probably because it's not very permeable, being surrounded by a big fence; it's not on the way to or from anywhere I want to go, and by and large it's quite well hidden from general view. It also has a rather old-world, forgotten feel to it, and certainly seems to have been well down the list for improvements over the years.

In 2008 a masterplan was developed and some changes were implemented, such as improvements to the entrance off Evelyn Street, but it has been slow progress. I haven't been back for some time so I'm not sure how many of the things that were highlighted on the plan have seen improvements. The fact that the map uses the word 'forlorn' is probably a good indication of the general feel of the place at the time.

On the plus side, it's tucked away behind houses that shelter it from the worst aspects of Evelyn Street, and mostly surrounded by quiet residential. It has a lot of mature plane trees, open space and benches for anyone wanting a bit of peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of Deptford; there's a playground for kids as well as the athletic track and a path all around the park circumference for runners. The 'secret garden' which was presumably created on a former bomb site where a gap was left in Evelyn St, is most definitely secret!

Does it need a flood-lit astro-turf pitch? It might be a good idea, if there was a clear shortage of such facilities in the local area - however I don't agree that that's the case.

For a start, it's just a stone's throw from the 'New Bermondsey' redevelopment on Surrey Canal Road where we are promised 'Energize Sports Centre & Onside Youth Zone' as part of phase two, which will include 'an indoor 3G football pitch that can be used by the Millwall Community Scheme (reproviding the Lions Centre), as well as for hockey and rugby and available to divide into 5-a-side pitches for hire to the leisure market'.

This is a huge development that was given outline planning permission three years ago but has yet to start on site. The fact that Boris announced earlier this year that New Bermondsey had been adopted as one of his new 'Housing Zones' might give it a rocket; if, like me, you've just read press release I linked to you'll be none the wiser about how these housing zones actually work. There's a bit more info here if you want to read further, but basically points mean prizes (and being chosen as an HZ makes you/the local authority eligible to bid for funding).

As his brochure says:
'The Mayor has made £400 million of funding available for Housing Zones. The funding can be used flexibly, from financing infrastructure to supporting individual schemes. This will maximise the number of new homes built and address the unique challenges at each site. The focus is on recovery and recycling investment, rather than conventional grant. Housing Zones are adaptable in terms of both funding and planning. That means it is up to London boroughs and their partners, to agree with the Mayor just what each Zone needs. in addition to investment, Housing Zones will offer focused planning, place-making and intensive engagement with a wide range of delivery partners important to making things happen, from utility companies to network Rail and Transport for London.'

But I digress. The park is also not far away from Deptford Green school, which coincidentally has a full size 4G astroturf pitch for hire (none of this 3G rubbish!). I think it's safe to say that demand is quite well addressed in this part of Deptford - especially when you take into account all the outdoor pitches that continue to be used throughout the year.

I'm not convinced it would be wise to do away with such a large area of wildlife habitat, carbon-dioxide-guzzling plants and a natural solution for soaking away rainwater without some serious consideration of the impact a football-pitch-worth of plastic would have on the ecosystem of the park.


Unknown said...

This wee park is a vital lung for that area of Deptford. I agree astroturfing part of it is not a good idea. Folk play football there anyway - without paying. Presume they'll have to pay for the new pitch. Anyone local residents been consulted on this? I don't think I have.

Anonymous said...

Do you have any news on 'New Bermondsey'? After the fanfare earlier this year about the HZ, and the vague statement that work would start on the new overground station by the end of 2015, it has gone very quiet. I go past the proposed station most days but the only work seems to be related to the new Quietway for Bikes.

Carolina said...

I live locally too and agree with you that this park is vital for this part of Deptford. Does it need another plastic, fenced-in, floodlight, football pitch which would be removing greenery and possibly wildlife and which you will probably have to pay to be able to use? I do not think so.

The council is also currently undertaking a massive change to Folkstone Gardens (park between Trundleys Road and Rolt Street). The works have started and there was definitely no consultation there. I live on Rolt Street and used the park with my 2 year old, we definitely did not receive any information about this. They have now removed the children's play area and are building a concrete skate park. I have been unable to find information confirming if the children's play area will be re installed. It is concerning that parks are being changed like this without consulting properly.

My friend and neighbour has started a facebook group named 'Friends of Folkestone Gardens & Deptford Park'. The intention is for this to be a park user group for anyone interested in the history, preservation and future plans of these public spaces.

I would also urge anyone who lives nearby to respond to the online consultation about the Deptford Park All Weather Pitch Consultation.

Anonymous said...

The development of Folkestone Gardens play area was not presented to local residents. I went to a presentation of the plan a long time ago at the Salvation Army church and it included a concrete skate park alongside improved under 5s and 5-11 play areas. Now there is no money to redo the play areas so nowhere for our children to play. The posters in the park show playgrounds but they are not happening until phase 2. Whenever that is.

Where is the Section 106/Community Infrastructure Levy from nearby SR House being spent? It should be on this park as there is no green space being provided with the development.

If you live near or use Folkestone Gardens or Deptford Park and would like yo be kept informed or get involved email the friends of group DeptfordFolk@gmail.com

Unknown said...

Thanks Caroline, I've requested to join the Facebook group you mention. Also sent an email to . Good luck, all!

Anonymous said...

I am a local resident and my husband is part of the Deptford Park Residents Association. We oppose the proposals on the very basic principle that the park should be for everyone and not broken up for paying customers (until 11 at night).

We have two young children and use the children's playpark and the playcentre (which is run by a volunteer parents group now there is no funding). The volunteers are against the proposals too.

The consultation blurb says that the football pitch is wanted by local young people. This is the argument that irks me the most as I'm pretty sure that local young people will not be able to afford to rent the pitches and that most of the people who can will not be people that live locally and care about the area.

Please respond to the consultation with your views.

Anonymous said...

Football = Noise Noise and more Noise.
Fight against noise pollution.
Keep The Peace!!!

Unknown said...

When I was a kid living in the area, there used to be a couple of football pitches where the proposed area is. They were surrounded by a fence, and I think they had a tarmac surface. We used them for school football, and anyone could use them when they were free.